Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told CNN’s Dana Bash that she feared being raped during the January 6th Capitol riot because “white supremacy and patriarchy are very linked” and that “deeply rooted” misogyny and racism motivated the Capitol attackers.
Ocasio-Cortez has claimed, in the past, that she feared for her life during the January 6th riot at the United States Capitol, which closely followed a rally in support of President Donald Trump.
Ocasio-Cortez was not in the U.S. Capitol building proper during the riot, though she was in the Rayburn House Office Building on the Capitol campus, separated from the Capitol building by a road on the surface and a subway underground. Capitol Police told Ocasio-Cortez and her staff to remain in their offices during the incident. A Republican colleague, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) later said that she was “two doors down” from Ocasio-Cortez and that “insurrectionists never stormed our hallway.”
After Ocasio-Cortez was confronted for “exaggerating” her experience, the New York Post noted, she fired back, insisting that she was near enough to the action to warrant fear.
Ocasio-Cortez, however, insists that she feared for her life during the Capitol riots, and, speaking to Dana Bash, revealed that she also feared being sexually violated.
In a clip for an extensive interview, set to air Monday night, Bash asks Ocasio-Cortez, “You didn’t only think you were going to die, you thought you were going to be raped?”
“Yeah, I thought I was,” Ocasio-Cortez responds.
Although she did not elaborate on what inspired that fear directly, Ocasio-Cortez told Bash that the fear of sexual violence was related to how “white supremacy” and the “patriarchy” intermingle.
“White supremacy and patriarchy are very linked in a lot of ways,” she said. “There’s a lot of sexualizing of that violence and I didn’t think that I was just going to be killed, I thought other things were going to happen to me as well.”
She then went on to dissect the philosophy she feels motivated the January 6th attack, and, it seems, defend her reaction.
“One of the reasons why that impact was so doubled that day is because of the misogyny and the racism that is so deeply rooted, and animated that attack on the Capitol,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
Although it is not unusual to hear the January 6th riots labeled “white supremacist,” Ocasio-Cortez is not the first to suggest the riots were also sexist.
“It wasn’t just masculinity, or entitlement, or supremacy. It was all of it that made the Capitol attack possible and often allows us to overlook the quieter attacks on our everyday lives,” a professor of sociology told USA Today at the time.
“Watching these images are triggering for people who experience the everyday violence of white male supremacy, whether that’s Black men who are patrolled by white police officers on the street or women who feel threatened by white men in their spaces on a daily basis,” the professor added. “It’s a reminder of the everyday stresses that come with living in a world that’s shaped by white masculinity and that your wellness comes second to their expressions of dominance, which they see as their right.”
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